In part three of our four part series covering the four components of a safety management system and how it is implemented at ICAS, we will discuss the third pillar of an effective SMS: Safety Assurance. In part two, we discussed how SMS identifies controls or mitigation procedures for potential risks. Safety assurance is the segment of SMS that makes sure that those controls are consistently and unilaterally applied. The safety assurance function applies the processes of quality assurance and internal evaluation to the process of making sure that risk controls, once designed, continue to conform to their requirements and that they continue to be effective in maintaining risk within acceptable levels.
Here at ICAS, the process of safety assurance is quite simple. The safety assurance process is the perpetual monitoring of ICARUS reports, safety observations from members and safety reports from regulators to ensure that established risk management controls are maintaining effectiveness. Internal evaluation is also used to ensure that the process is followed. This check can be done by pairing every report that is received from the Safety Incident Procedures with its subsequent determination from the Safety Committee.
Let us look at an example to illustrate the practical implementation. Assume that the Safety Risk Management processes have identified an increase in encroachment on the 500’ show line. The SRM process would identify this variation as a hazard, analyze the risk involved in the hazard and make an assessment of how to control the risk to an acceptable level. Safety assurance processes are then used to analyze the controls established by the SRM process. If the SRM process determines that the increased rate of performers encroaching the 500’ line requires a control in the form of prohibition of vertical maneuvers when the winds are gusting above 90 knots, the safety assurance process would analyze the effectiveness of that prohibition. This cycle of hazard identification, risk management and control implementation, review and analysis is a constantly improving cycle.
In our fourth and final segment, we will discuss the most complex, and often under-appreciated component of the SMS program: Safety Promotion.